Visitors from America – the 1880s and the flower garden

Towneley Hall - croquet lawn in the 1860s

This is one of the earliest photographs of the gardens at Towneley in the 1860s. In the foreground are croquet hoops, while a flower garden enclosed by a wire fence can just be made out to the south east of the house .

In the 1880s, the fictitious Lawrence-Townley Estate was used to separate thousands of people in North America from their money in a great fraud. It was suggested there was a large estate in England held in the Court of Chancery because the rightful heirs had gone to America. These heirs were the descendant of Mary Townley who married John Lawrence. All the heirs needed was the loan of money to prove their claim in the English courts and, when successful, the heirs would repay the loans ten times over.

While this does not concern Towneley Park directly, it tells us that Towneley was well known throughout America and some of those duped came over to England and recorded their visit to Towneley. Amongst these records is one giving a good description of the gardens around 1884. It is the only known written account of the flower garden to the south east of the Hall in the 19th century:

“”From the side windows of both drawing rooms there is a beautiful grass plat surmounted by a fine wire fence to keep the hares out. This is changed into a beautiful garden in the center by beds of flowers which are arranged into different designs each year. The design at present is a crescent about two feet wide by ten feet curve, filled with red and yellow flowers; opposite the curve, some three feet away, is a rosette some four feet in diameter filled with flowers; then to the right of the first crescent is another facing the other way and a rosette in front of it, and on the opposite side another one with a rosette in front of that; beyond the three is a diamond. The same arrangement is on the other end, while in the center the crescents are reversed; the whole with the bright colored flowers making a beautiful picture. In the rear of the gardens are large sized forest trees bordered by numerous rhododendrons. In the rear of the building is a smooth, well kept, grassy plot of nearly an acre in size bordered in the distance by large forest trees, several paths lead in different directions through the woods; one to the farm-house, one to the kitchen garden, one to the flower garden, and others to other portions of the estate.” [Other Days, Charles Valentine Townley, Olathe, Kansas] .

The flower garden and the wire screen fence appear in many postcards of Towneley Park after it was opened to the public. These show that Burnley Corporation retained the Victorian flower garden, as can be seen in this postcard from the 1920s, before the War Memorial was built.

Flower Beds, Towneley Park, Burnley

During World War II, the fence was removed for scrap metal, and then in 1944 a fountain-type bird bath added to the garden. In 1950, the current hedge of green and golden yew was planted. The photograph below shows the Italian Garden, as it came to be known, in 1987.

Italian garden in 1987

TOWNELEY MEMORIES:VINCENT’S GARDEN CENTRE AND THE TOWNELEY BEDDING BOX

As part of a 2013/14 Heritage Lottery funded project to explore the history of Towneley Park and its landscape some of the project researchers interviewed local people to record their memories of Towneley. 

With grateful thanks to Joan Vincent and Anne Francis.  Research by Prue Wilkinson & Jackie Hindle South.
Part of Joan’s interview can be seen here:  http://youtu.be/A2rzWXWgHkc
All bedding box photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackiespix/sets/72157637887907723/ 
All other Towneley photos can be seen here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackiespix/sets/72157633397354744/

Vincent’s Garden Centre.

Joan’s husband, George was the brother of Jim Vincent who was the original owner of the garden centre. Jim worked in the mill and had an allotment in Healey Wood. He grew chrysanthemums and would sell what he could locally. A passerby, Mr Haffner, asked Jim if he had thought of taking up growing flowers as a business. ‘Mr Haffner offered Jim a loan and helped him to get a Towneley small holding (the one left standing).

Jim chose that one because of its position near the river. The business thrived with his wife Carry selling home made produce, eg jams, on a market stall.

clip_image002As the family became more affluent Jim decided to build a bungalow nearby and the stone used was from a chapel in Burnley which had been pulled down. It was believed to be the chapel which was nearby the present Keirby Walk. At a later date a house was built for his son which is also still there. The bungalow can be found down a drive on the right past the garden centre. To find the house go past the garden centre and carry straight on and the house is set back on the left

 

 

The Towneley Bedding Box.

Joan has strong memories of visiting her ‘Grandma Francis’ with her Aunt Clara. When Joan visited, the house was on Huffling Lane now pulled down but on the triangle of green below the railway crossing (not actually her grandma but gt aunt).

Grandma Francis was born Mary Shackleton 21st March 1862 and married John Francis 1894 when aged 32. They had one son and ‘Auntie Clara’ married this son. On the censuses for 1881 and 1891 Mary’s occupation is given as cotton weaver. There is no mention of working at Towneley.  clip_image002[3]

However Joan is in possession of a bedding box which she has had for 50 years. Joan remembers it at her Auntie Clara’s house and her Auntie said it belonged to ‘ Grandma Francis’. The story goes that this had been given as a wedding present to her when she left to marry. The wood was from a tree felled at Towneley. This seems an extravagant gift but it was because she had married late in life and had served the family well.

There is a Mary Shackleton on the Towneley servants’ list but the one on the list and Grandma Francis are two different women with 11 years difference and different fathers’ names.

We contacted another member of the Francis family, Anne Francis , who has researched the family history. Anne was very helpful supplying lots of information but despite knowing the story of the bedding box had no proof that Mary had worked at Towneley. Anne is now working to establish if there is any written proof of the Towneley connection.

Joan’s childhood memories of Towneley.

Joan has many happy memories of Towneley. She remembers being able to access the park from a kissing gate on Todmorden Road opposite the bottom of Brooklands Road. This lead to the rabbit walk where they would play as children but also where everyone went when ‘courting’

She remembers the Coop Dairy and Laundry being there. She also remembers when the stables looked like stables. In her memory there were never horses there but benches where you could sit after buying sweets at a little shop around there somewhere. She also remembers going to listen to the bands in the bandstand with her mum and dad and was so sad to see the photos of it today.

MEMORIES OF TOWNELEY:JAMES SHACKLETON, TOWNELEY GAMEKEEPER

As part of a 2013/14 Heritage Lottery funded project to explore the history of Towneley Park and its landscape some of the project researchers interviewed local people to record their memories of Towneley. 

Grateful thanks to Brenda Rochester for this interview, carried out 16th April, 2013. Research by Prue Wilkinson & Jackie Hindle South.

Brenda’s great, great grandfather was James Shackleton born around the mid 1820s and on the 1841 census he was already a gamekeeper living at Clough Foot, Widdop where now only a barn remains. On his marriage to Alice Helliwell on December 27th 1852 he was already 28 years old, still a game keeper and living in Widdop. Their first daughter Mary Jane Shackleton was born just two days later on the 29th of December1852. Mary Jane Shackleton married James Foulds and Brenda is descended from the Foulds line.

image                image

imageJames and Alice had a son born 11th June 1857 when their address is given as Towneley Park and it is believed James worked as a gamekeeper at Towneley from 1853 onwards until at least 1856. Brenda’s grandmother said that James did not live in Towneley Cottages behind the hall but in the gamekeeper’s cottage at the other side near where the present Offshoots is now. James died in the Old House at Cliviger, which was also owned by the Towneley family. 

Brenda had many happy memories of her own including the path through the golf links called the rabbit walk. She also remembered visiting the bandstand which it was felt may be what is known as the theatre.

Part of interview here http://youtu.be/6x-nLZnSE3A

The Sports Pavilion at Upper Towneley Playing Fields

Towneley Playing Fields Pavilion - opened 1931

Football came to dominate Towneley in the 1930s. The Sports Pavilion was completed in 1931 at a cost exceeding that of the Stocks Massey Music Pavilion, being insured for £1,800 , that is £300 more than for the Music Pavilion. It was opened on August 12th 1931 by Edwin Whitehead as can be seen from this plaque, which has now been removed from the changing rooms and placed in Towneley Hall away from the hands of metal thieves who have recently targeted the pavilion.

sports pavilion opened 12th August 1931

In November 1932, the Borough Surveyor reported that the demand for the use of football pitches at Towneley Playing Fields had been very heavy. Considerable difficulty was being experienced in meeting requirements. The land near the Avenue, Towneley Holmes, which was reserved to form part of the extension to the Golf Course would, as a temporary measure be laid out as football pitches.

By 1935, it was necessary to convert part of the stables in Towneley Park into more dressing rooms for the footballers. When the greyhound track was closed and the land purchased by Burnley Corporation, the golfers were hoping to extend their course to 18 holes but demand for even more football pitches won the day. The footballers on Towneley Holmes then made use of Red Gate Barn until it was demolished in 1959. This resulted in the need for 18 additional dressing rooms at Upper Towneley so in 1960 a brick with timber superstructure extension to the Sports Pavilion was completed at an approximate cost of £11,000.

TOWNELEY PARK MUSIC PAVILION

The facts about the Pavilion have been drawn from the Burnley Express and Burnley News in November 1928 and July 1929. These articles have been transcribed by Andrew Johnson and Maureen Frankland in 2013.

1. The plans for the Pavilion were submitted to Burnley Corporation in November 1928.

2. The location was in a natural amphitheatre at the end of High Royd Field, 625yards from the Towneley Tram terminus on Todmorden Road, and 280 yards from Towneley Hall.

3. The money for the project was gained through the Stocks Massey Bequest Fund.

4. The total cost of the project was £3,900, with the Bandstand costing £1,700 and the terracing costing £2000.

5. The work was completed in May 1929 and the official opening took place on Sunday July 3rd 1929 at 2pm. clip_image002

6. The bandstand itself was 36’ wide, by 25’ from front to back, and a height of 18’. The stage was 4’6” above the ground, with flowerbeds on the ground in front of the stage.

7. The stage could hold 50 bandsmen or a choir of 100.

8. Beneath the stage were rooms for Artistes and Bandsmen, and chairs.

9. The auditorium was planned to seat 3,500 people seated on chairs, but the initial capacity was 2.000 seated with 1000 standing at the back.

10. There was also a room / building near the entrance for the “Collector”.

11. The rooms were made of stone. The stage and surround were made of wood. There were steel stanchions for the roof. The roof was covered in rubberoid shingles.

12. The Mayor of Burnley Councillor H. Lees JP performed the opening ceremony. Councillor Whitehead JP represented the Trustees of the Stocks Massey Bequest Fund who handed over the Pavilion to Councillor R. Place, who represented the Parks Committee of Burnley Corporation. The Pavilion was designed by Mr. A. Race the Borough Engineer.

In 1968 the Pavilion had to be demolished following a fire. The land was then allowed to return to its natural woodland state, and most of the Pavilion was removed.

Questions which remain unanswered

1. Was there a formal pathway to the back of the stage?

2. Where did the door at the back of the stage lead to? Were there steps down behind the stage.

3. How many rooms were there beneath the stage? Were there two rooms, one for men and one for women, and what size were they? Were these used to store the chairs when they were unoccupied by bands or choirs?

4. Were there any toilet facilities?

5. In 2013 there are some concrete pillars hidden among the woodland behind the demolished stage. Were these part of the Pavilion? If so, what were they used for?

TOWNELEY MUSIC PAVILION Taken from the Burnley Express July 3rd 1929

N.B. Parts of the print are indecipherable and have been left as ……… rather than guess at their content.

————-

New Structure formally opened and handed over to the Corporation

—————–

Burnley’s Debt to the late Mr. Stocks Massey

——————

“Finest Bandstand in Country “ : Mayor and the realisation of his dream.

A crowd of some thousands assembled in High Royd meadow, Towneley Park, on Sunday afternoon for the opening of the fine music pavilion which has been erected with funds provided by the Stocks Massey Bequest Trustees. The Pavilion was handed over to the Parks Committee and Corporation by Alderman Whitehead, the only serving Trustee on the Bequest, Councillor Place, as Chairman of the Parks Committee, accepted the gift and the pavilion was then declared open by the Mayor. (Councillor H. Lees).

The Municipal Choir afterwards gave a varied and interesting concert programme which fully tested the acoustic qualities of the Pavilion and the site in which it has been erected. Tea was provided to a large company of invited guests to Towneley Hall, and in the evening the Municipal Symphony Orchestra rendered a programme in the company of another great assembly.

The Mayor presided at the opening ceremony, accompanied by the Mayoress, Alderman Whitehead, Mr. Colin Campbell, …………. ……………., Alderman Sellers Kay, and …………………….. of the Bands sub committee. The ………………………….. of Preston ( Councillor W. Lucas) accompanied by the Mayoress and Mr. Howarth, ……………………… of Preston arrived shortly after the concert began and remained for the afternoon.

ADVANCEMENT OF MUSIC

The Mayor, in calling upon Alderman Whitehead ……………………. The occasion was felt to be so important that it was decided that there should be a formal opening of the Music Pavilion. (Hear hear). As the first step in the proceedings he had great pleasure in calling upon Alderman Whitehead, the only surviving Trustee of the Massey Bequest Fund, to hand over the Pavilion, on ……………………. The Trustees, to the Chairman of the Bequest Committee Councillor Place. (Applause).

Alderman Whitehead said the Pavilion was one of the finest and most up to date structures in this country. Under the terms of the ………………… the late Mr. Stocks Massey the Burnley Corporation became entitiled to the residuary funds of the estate for certain charitable works for the benefit of the inhabitants of Burnley. One of these charitable purposes was the advancement of music. It was his further ……………………….. this latter object the Pavilion had been erected, and it was only by the beneficence of Mr. Massey that the Corporation were in a position to provide that magnificent structure for the benefit of the public of Burnley. As surviving Trustee of Mr. Massey, it was Alderman Whitehead’s duty and pleasure to take part I this ceremony and hand over the Pavilion to the Corporation. But before doing so, he wished to take the opportunity of expressing his profound regret at the death of his friend and colleague, and co-Trustee Dr …………………………. (Hear, Hear).

Alderman Whitehead pointed out that both the Municipal Choir and the Municipal Orchestra , which were giving concerts in the Pavilion that day, were subsidised out of Edward Stocks Massey’s bequest. So now, (Alderman Whitehead said addressing the Chairman of the Parks Committee) I call upon you to accept the Pavilion on behalf of the Corporation from me as Trustee of the Edward Stocks Massey Bequest, and hereafter, to maintain it and provide therein, concerts which will, under the terms of Mr. Massey’s will, be for the advancement of education in music among the inhabitants of Burnley (Loud applause )

GENEROSITY OF MR STOCKS MASSEY

Councillor Place said that in receiving the gift on behalf of the Parks Committee and the Corporation he could only say that he thought nothing would be more in keeping with the swishes of the late Mr. Massey than the erection, by his Trustees, of this splendid Pavilion, the provision of which, he was sure, would be the means of giving pleasure to thousands of music loving people. Burnley had been favoured by a number of people who thought so much of the town that they left money’s and land for the benefit of its citizens, and the land so given had been laid out as Parks. Among them was Mr. Scott who left money and lands which were now Scott Park. The late Sir John Thursby gave the land which was now Queen’s Park, and Lord Shuttleworth gave part of what was now Ightenhill Park. Lady O’Hagan sold Towneley to the Corporation at such a figure that they could practically call it a gift, and there was the late Mr. Thompson to whom the town was indebted for the lands near Bank Hall, which were now being laid out and which would include a boating lake and a garden likely to excite the admiration of the town.

They had also had Mr. Stocks Massey. Through his generisuty the town now came into the possession of this beautiful Pavilion, and in receiving the gift for the town and Corporation he (Mr. Place) felt certain that nothing could be more in harmony with Mr. Massey’s wishes and nothing was more likely to bring more pleasure to the citizens of the town. (Applause). He had great pleasure in accepting the gift for the town and hoped it would be fully used for the purpose it was intended, and that the Burnley would have many happy hours in listening to good music and singing there. (Applause)

MAYOR’S DREAM REALISED

The Mayor said he did not think there was anyone in the vast audience who at some time, on awakening from sleep, had not remembered a very pleasant dream, and wished sincerely that his dream had been realised. That afternoon he was in the fortunate position of a person whose whole dream had been more than realised. It was a long time since the question of suitable facility for music at Towneley Park was discussed and considered by the Parks Committee. It was something like 16 or 17 years since he had been doing what he could to push on the project, and it was something like 13 or 14 years since Captain Miller, the famous Conductor of famous bands, and he (the Mayor) along with other …………….. Alderman Kay and Whitehead went over Towneley Park with the idea of fixing upon a suitable spot for a stand. When they considered a matter of this kind in connection with Towneley Park, they always had to have in mind the fact that the chief asset of the Park was the historic Hall, and in choosing a suitable place for the Music Pavilion they had to have in mind that nothing must be done that would interfere in any way with the historic building. Almost any position in those beautiful grounds would have been suitable, they might say, but the positions varied in degree, and he was sure that the public who visited the Pavilion would agree that the most suitable position had been selected. (Hear, hear) In addition to the locality, they had had to take into account the convenience of the public who would want to listen to the music, and he thought they would agree that the chosen site lent itself admirably for that purpose. So one of his (the Mayor’s) dreams had been realised and indeed, more than realised. In that connection he wished to pay a special complement to the Borough Surveyor and the members of his staff who had been engaged on the erection of the pavilion. He (the Mayor) was going to claim that it was the best and the finest in the country at the present time (Hear, hear) . That was perfectly true to claim to ……………. Most of the modern bandstands had been visited and inspected, and in the erection of the Pavilion, care had been taken to avoid the weaknesses and drawbacks noted about others. It was a really modern stand and there was not in the country another to equal it (Hear, hear).

A MAGNIFICENT BEQUEST

The Mayor added that he also wished to say how grateful he was that the public of Burnley had the advantage of such a magnificent bequest as described by Alderman Whitehead. They were under great obligation to the late Mr. Stocks Massey, and they were also under great obligation to the Trustees of the Bequest, the Massey Bequest Committee allowing it to be used from the money to be used for that particular purpose. The provision of the Pavilion would give enjoyment and pleasure of the most real kind for a long time to come.

Necessarily, the major portion of the activities of the Corporation was devoted to the provision of physical comforts and conveniences of the people of the Borough. I had been written however that “Man doth not live by bread alone”, and, recognising that truth they realised that further provision was necessary to secure fullness of life for the people. From now onward it would be readily claimed that the Burnley Corporation, through the facilities of the Massey Bequest, were providing not only for the body, but for the soul. (Hear,hear). He was proud of the music Pavilion and he hoped the public would appreciate its value, and that it would ever be used in such a way as to provide enjoyment, and happiness for the people of the town and district. He had great pleasure in declaring the Music Pavilion open. (Loud applause).

FEATURES OF THE PAVILION

The situation of the new Pavilion is a very picturesque one, and at any rate, to the layman in such matters, seems to afford many advantages to the musician who wants to have his music properly put over to his audience, and correspondingly, to the audience for their proper reception and appreciation of a musicians work. High Royd field , in which the Pavilion is erected is a large piece of meadowland which extends from the top of the timbered slope on the right of the Avenue as one approaches the Hall, to the belt of wood which curves round the dingle at the back of the Hall and reaches to the Todmorden Road Boundary walls. Picnic Parties have had the use of the field on occasion, and in recent summers the Girls Clubs associated with the activities of the League of Social Service have had the use of it for games.

The Pavilion is placed well down the fall of the ground at the Towneley end of the field, ………. The actual border of the field in fact, though the slope of the ground continues to the bottom of the wooded dingle. This gives a backing to the Pavilion of tall trees filling the deep hollow through which the Towneley Hall stream runs, and the Pavilion fronting the high and steep slope of the field, lies in the natural amphitheatre or auditorium, with the slope terraced for seats and a wide fringe left for a standing audience.

The Pavilion is a handsome structure, adequately decorated, and fronted with a flower border in which, on Sunday, there was a huge array of fuschias in bloom. It has a frontage of 36’ and a depth of 25’ while the maximum height, to the underside of the roof is 18’. It will accommodate 50 bandsmen or a choir of 100. The construction is mainly of wood, on account of its acoustic properties, with stations and steel beams encased to carry the roof. The base is of course of stone and the external covering of the roof is of rubberoid shingles. Provision had been made for electric lighting. There are two artistes rooms at the rear, with lavatory accommodation, a large room in the basement for choristers and bandsmen and storage for chairs. The terracing for seats at present completed accommodates an audience of 2000, but it is intended to increase it so as to provide for seating for 3,500, while a great number of listeners can still find standing room higher on the slope. The estimated cost of the Pavilion was £1700, with an expenditure for terracing, footpaths and cahirs of £2200, making a total of £3900.

THE OPENING PROGRAMMES

Sunday afternoons programme by the Municipal Choir – with Mr. D. Duxbury conducting, and MR. Harold leaver as pianist – provided a reasonably wide test both of the qualities of the choir and the acoustic properties of the Pavilion. Loud speakers were fitted during the opening ceremony, but were not of course used for the choir’s performance. From the reserved seats, grouped in front of the Pavilion, and more or less on a level with it, the audition was all that could be desired.

The proceedings opened with the singing by Choir and crown of the hymn, Jesus shall reign. The Official party, after the opening ceremony, vacated the Pavilion and the choir then filled it. Their programme was as follows:

Unison Song: Jerusalem (Parry): Choir songs (a) Thank God for a Garden (Delriego), (b) Oh tell me nightingale( Liza Leleman), Miss Hoyle : part song. Weary wind of the west (Elgar). Choir: Anthem in memory of the late Mr. T.W.Crabtree, What are these? (Stainer), Choir: Air – Honour and Arms (Handel), Mr. J Holt , part song, Eriskay Love Lilt, (arrangement by Robertson, Choir: Drakes Drum (Bantook), Choir: Male Voices: Chorus Hail Bright Abode (Wagner), Choir: Recit and Air – Slumber Dear Maid (Handel), Miss. M. Cunliffe: Sing Shepherds All (Nicholson),

Choir: Song -The English Rose (German), Mr. L. Bannister: Chorus – Hallelujah (Handel). Choir –Hail Bright Abode, perhaps on account of its variously stimulating appeal was particularly appreciated, as was the Eriskay Love Lilt, with its haunting rhythms. At Mr. Duxbury’s invitation the audience joined in the Hallelujah Chorus and the National Anthem closed the programme.

The evening programme by the Symphony Orchestra ( under Mr. Camden) was as follows: Huligung’s March (Wagner): Overture, Piqde Dame Suppe: Invitation to the waltz (Weber): Scenes Napolitaines (Massonet): selections from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Operas: Overture, Orpheus in the Underworld (Offenbach): God Save the King.

 

Posters held at Burnley library for events at the music pavilion

All large posters include “In inclement weather there will be a cancellation”

All small posters include “Convenient service of omnibuses will be run.”

All promoted as “Special concerts” except the 1939 and the unknown year.

Year

Date

Time

Cost

Concert Party

Town Clerk

Printer

Other

1935

8th June

7pm

Chair 3d

Tonics

Colin Campbell

Burnley Express Printing Co

 

1935

20th July

7pm

Chair 3d

Dominant

Colin Campbell

Burnley Express Printing Co

 
               

1936

27th June

7pm

Chair 3d

Grosvenor

Harry Plowman

Burnley Express Printing Co

 

1936

1st August

7pm

Chair 3d

Cantemus Entertainers

Harry Plowman

   

1936

15th Aug

7pm

Chair 3d

Merrymakers

Harry Plowman

Burnley Express Printing Co

 

1936

29th Aug

7pm

Chair 3d

Meister Singers

Harry Plowman

Burnley Express Printing Co

 
               

1937

5th June

7pm

Chair 3d

Dominant

Harry Plowman

Burnley Express Printing Co

 

1937

17th July

7pm

Chair 3d

Clifton Singers

Harry Plowman

Veevers and Hensman

 

1937

31st July

7pm

Chair 3d

Crescents

Harry Plowman

   

1937

14th Aug

7pm

Chair 3d

Merrymakers

Harry Plowman

   

1937

28th Aug

7pm

Chair 3d

Sylvians

Harry Plowman

   
               

1938

28th May

7pm

Chair 3d

Debonair (Keighley)

Harry Plowman

 

Cancelled. See June 11th

1938

4th June

7pm

Chair 3d

Sylvians

Harry Plowman

Burnley Corporation Printing Dept. Elizabeth Street.

 

1938

11th June

7pm

Chair 3d

Debonair

   

Re-arranged from May 28th

1938

18th June

7pm

Chair 3d

Meister Singers

Harry Plowman

   

1938

2nd July

7pm

Chair 3d

New Camelias

Harry Plowman

   

1938

6th Aug

7pm

Chair 3d

Clifton Singers

Harry Plowman

   

1938

13th Aug

7pm

Chair 3d

Merrymakers

Harry Plowman

   

1938

27th Aug

7pm

Chair 3d

Grosvenor

Harry Plowman

   

1938

3rd Sept

7pm

Chair 3d

Grosvenor

Harry Plowman

 

Cancelled. See June 3rd 1939

               

1939

3rd June

7pm

Chair 3d

Grosvenor

Harry Plowman

   
               
               

Not

known

26th June

2.30pm

 

Nelson Scottish Dancers and Accrington Pipe Band

 

Burnley Borough Council Recreation and Leisure services

 

 

A pavilion can still be seen at Oak Hill Park in Accrington

Music Pavilion Accrington

Towneley – 1850s the best shorthorns in Great Britain

A herd of shorthorn cattle was started at Towneley in 1849. In the next fourteen years the herd won 26 gold medals and over one hundred other trophies at agricultural shows across Great Britain, Ireland and France. In September 1857, the French Ambassador, Count de Persigny, visited Towneley to see the shorthorns. When the herd was sold on March 17th 1864, over 3,000 people from all over Britain came for the sale.

Cattle sale at Towneley in 1864

Towneley – an agricultural wonder – 1795

In 1795, Charles Townley (1737-1805) engaged Joseph Elkington (1739-1806) to improve the drainage at Towneley. Elkington was the first person in England to understand and apply modern geological principles to improve land drainage. In the year he came to Towneley, the House of Commons approved an expenditure of £1,000 to document his methods. Charles Townley was very pleased with the improvements made by Elkington and did all he could to publicize his work. Many people visited Towneley in the next few years just to look at the drainage including the Duke of Norfolk who visited in September 1798 and stayed overnight at Towneley Hall.

drainage_1797

This drawing is based on a map drawn on tracing paper by Charles Towneley sometime around 1798. It is likely that he was tracing the field boundaries from an existing estate map. The broken straight lines appear to be the location of the Elkington drains.